The sight of 20,000 or so young Irish people lining up at job fairs for Canada, Australia and other foreign parts is a sad one.

The lines stretched around the block and down the street in Dublin for a fair last weekend, and will continue to do so. No doubt the crowds will come out in Cork as well, as the foreign employment bandwagon moves there.

Indeed, organizers were scrambling to add a second day to the Cork employment fair. One can only imagine how many young Irish from small villages, the lifeblood of such communities, will be lining up to leave.

It is sad to see and must be hugely depressing for parents who thought the bad old days of involuntary emigration were long gone.

This generation of Irish had every reason to believe they would be growing up in a different country where emigration was an option not a necessity. Such is not the case.

One can only speculate as to the incredible amount of money spent by the Irish state on their education -- only for it now to benefit another country.

It is sad for the young people themselves. There is an attempt in some quarters in Ireland to justify emigration as a voluntary act. It is no such thing for the vast majority.


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It is, in fact, nothing but the same old story, the realization that the longer the Irish Republic exists, the more evident the cycle becomes.

In the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s and now again in the second decade of this century, there has been a flood of young Irish forced to leave their homes.

America, Australia, Canada and Britain have been the main beneficiaries of the Irish who leave.

As was evident from the weekend fair and other foreign employment expos, the leaders of countries like Australia and Canada are only too keen to snap up the bright young Irish.

There is a glaring 30-year cycle when the nation bleeds many of its best and brightest and directs them to the emigrant plane or boat.

It was all supposed to be so different this time, however, with a Celtic Tiger economy the envy of the world and a new confidence and pep everywhere.

That soon came crashing down, of course, and the upshot is the huge lines outside the weekend employment fairs.

It is a political failure of stunning proportions, and no amount of empty headed rhetoric about emigration being good for young people and, after all, the country is too small to begin with should be tolerated.

The blame can be placed squarely on those political and business leaders such as bankers who went mad during the boom times and spent and loaned the country into bankruptcy.

They, of course, in most cases have avoided the worst of the deep recession and incredible hardship that many are now going through.

Instead it is the young, the group Ireland can least afford to leave, who will be departing. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Queue waiting to get inside the job expoPhotocall